The Target millennial memo A management how-to? More like a how-not-to

Jessica Perry//January 12, 2015

The Target millennial memo A management how-to? More like a how-not-to

Jessica Perry//January 12, 2015

If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog, you know a lot has been made of the imminent takeover of the workforce by millennials.How imminent? Intensely so: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Millennials will become the majority of the workforce in 2015. Assuming you’re not suffering a case of the Rip Van Winkles, I’m sure you realize that means this takeover is so imminent we are in fact living it.

As such, companies have been struggling with ways to engage and retain millennial workers.

There’s one area of industry that saw this shift early: retail. In 2009, 50 percent of Target’s employees were millennial. In response, they issued this internal guide to managing millennials.

In the interest of trying to be somewhat objective, I attempted to find an article that didn’t interject the word “dumb” into the title, but that only proved to be an exercise in futility.

Why all the hate for this internal memo? Well, let’s remove the 10 percent of the snarkiness and write it off as Internet white noise that is basically generated as a byproduct of the very existence of message boards, guest books and comments sections. As long as there are things on the Internet, there will be people who hate on them.

Click here to read more from our Millennial Minded

The other reason is more akin to an idea I poked fun at during my inaugural blog for Millennial Minded: It’s almost self-defeating to try and lump an entire generation of individuals together, paint a title on them and wash your hands of it.

It goes for any generation, but you run a bigger risk at alienating millennials with this mindset because of the air of individualism that surrounds most of the generation.

So, how terrible is this Target memo? As silly as the Internet wants to paint it (and there are numerous shades of silly to paint that image…), there are a few points made that are worth considering when dealing with employees of any generation. Since one is to be technologically savvy, which has proven a million times over since this memo’s publication in 2009 to be essential to any work environment, I’m just going to skip over that one.

There’s one tiny piece of information in the memo that stands out as particularly important: Be curious. Don’t talk to, but rather with your millennial (any, really) employees. Engage and be present in all of your interactions; listen intently and consider all the minutiae of what your employee (or co-worker, or friend, or spouse…) is telling you before constructing your response.

It’s not a way to handle millennials, it’s just a way to be a better listener. And if you’re engaged, so, too, will be the people around you.


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